The Coors Effect

July 3, 2010 11:36 PM

Jimenez shows again that he's human

Three starts ago, Ubaldo Jimenez's string of fourteen straight quality starts to open the season ended.  He gave up six runs in 5.2 innings.  In his last start, he gave up four runs in six innings.  Tonight, it was even worse: seven runs in six innings.

Okay, to be fair, Ubaldo pitched five scoreless innings sandwiched around a seven-run third inning which saw the Giants send ten batters to the plate, pick up two singles, a double, three walks, and a back-breaking grand slam that gave them a 7-1 lead.  Amazingly, that lead wouldn't hold, as the Rockies came back and actually took an 8-7 lead in the sixth inning -- a lead that actually left Ubaldo in line for the win, except that the bullpen promptly blew the lead.

Really, if you take out the third inning, Ubaldo gave up just two hits and one walk over five innings.  Except, well, we can't take out the third inning.  Somewhat amazingly, despite scuffling a bit in his last three starts, the Rockies are still 15-2 in Ubaldo's starts this season.  And, were Ubaldo pitching like he's pitched this season -- or even if he were merely okay, rather than utterly dominant -- the offense would have given more than enough cushion to get a win.  The offense pounded out twelve hits and scored eight runs, three of them off the bat of Carlos Gonzalez, who hit his fourteenth homer of the season.  Dexter Fowler's presence at the top of the lineup is important not just because Fowler is getting on base a lot himself, but because it allows the Rockies to move Gonzalez into a position where he can drive in more runs.  Gonzalez was going to waste in the leadoff spot -- while he has good speed, he's not a particularly good on-base guy because he doesn't draw many walks, but he's good at driving the ball between the gaps and over the fence.  Of course, it helps that since his return, Fowler's been getting on base quite a bit, and he and Jonathan Herrera are giving Gonzalez plenty of RBI chances.

But this just wasn't meant to be the Rockies' night.  The Rockies are equipped to win slugfests, but tonight, the Rockies' pitching staff -- in addition to Ubaldo, Manny Corpas and Randy Flores each gave up two runs -- just couldn't keep the Giants off the scoreboard.  So it was a rare night when eight runs wasn't enough to win.  It doesn't happen that often, but when it happens, you just have to accept it, I guess.

Rockies Top Three

1.  Carlos Gonzalez
: Gonzalez is becoming a regular here; tonight he had two hits and drove in three of the Rockies' eight runs.

2.  Dexter Fowler: As much as we point out that Gonzalez should be getting more RBI opportunities in the third spot in the order, the Rockies' leadoff hitters are getting plenty of them as well.  In addition to getting on base twice and scoring a run, Dex drove in two on a sixth-inning single.

3.  Jonathan Herrera: While he doesn't draw walks and has zilch power (25 of his 26 hits this year have been singles), Herrera is putting up a good-enough empty BA right now to be effective at the top of the order.  Tonight: 3-for-5, 2 runs, and his second career stolen base.

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